Whilst at NYCC I had the great honor to interview Bill Plympton, someone who is probably considered the forefather of the industry we here at Bubbleblabber write about everyday. Matt Groening(The Simpsons) has referred to Bill as ‘God’ and I’d be hard pressed to argue as recently he was filmed for a documentary called Adventures in Plymptoons directed by the beautiful and talented Alexia Anastasio. After the jump, check out what Bill had to say about working in an industry that isn’t always kind.
John Blabber: You’re part of a new documentatary called ‘Adventures in Plymptoons’. It’s an interesting project.
Bill Plympton: I’m not part of it. I’m am it!
Yes. You are. Watching it, I kind of got a sense of almost like a memoir take on it. Is that something you were kind of looking to do?
Yeah. Certainly, there is a lot of my early history in there, which I think is important to talk about. I think the main reason I wanted to do it was that I don’t have the kind of money to put billboards up and ads on TV and things like that. Any way I can get the word out about my work, about my career, about being an independent filmmaker, that’s what I want. That’s why I thought this documentary really showed the life of an Indy filmmaker trying to succeed in a corporate world.
A couple weeks ago, there was a documentary about Playboy on History Channel. I couldn’t help but think Bill and Playboy kind of started out at right around the same time, that whole sex wasn’t really accepted really. What was it like creating some of your early art work, and probably having people go like uh-oh?
My life is battling against all these forces, and trying to change things, and trying to show a different kind of film, a different kind of animated film. I want people to see that in the documentary.
Sure. One of the things that was really interesting to me is, no matter what, no matter the advances in technology that have come with animation, no matter—you probably could have taken some easy ways, some easy paths to get there, but you’ve always kind of taken the hard way, the unbeaten path. Was that something that you were kind of instilled with when you were younger, that hey, I’m not going to just settle, I’m going to do things my way or the highway?
Yeah. That’s a good question because I’m really kind of a slut for animation. If some big studio came up to me and said, here is a million dollars, go make a film; I would just seriously think about it. It just seems like nobody really wants to distribute my films because they are so different and unique. I don’t want them to sit on a shelf. I want them to get out there. I’m left with either self-distribution or finding a distributor, who is a very low budget kind of marginal distributor.
I’m not happy about that. I would love to be in 2,000 cinemas when it comes out, but it’s just, that’s what my films are.
Some of your early work was very politically charged cartoons in regards to the bombs and what not, do you still pay attention to politics today?
I don’t follow politics that much.
I’m certainly going to vote, but I’m so busy now with my films and my creative output, that I don’t really read the magazines and the newspapers and watch CNN like I used to. I wish I did. I probably should, but it’s just my priorities have changed.
Sure. All right Bill, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you. It’s really an honor. Thank you so much!
You can purchase the incredible story of Bill Plympton called Adventures in Plymptoons on Bill’s official site